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February 2006

Cuteness factor 10 bazillion

Resizeharp1_2 Resizeharp2_1

Resizeharp3_1 Resizeharp4_1

she's just really too, too cute. sometimes i can't stand it. sure, she's not the greatest sleeper, but i have to admit i don't always mind getting a little extra harper-snuggle at 3 a.m. it won't last forever, and i'll miss it when it's gone. she's already growing way too fast. i'll take my snuggles wherever and whenever i can get them, because this girl has a hold on my heart in a big bad way.


Target Vogue

Now, I don't claim to be a fashionista - though I bought my first-ever issue of Vogue today (purely for research!) - but I saw something at Target today that I'm pretty sure would get those What-Not-To-Wear people in a major tizzy.

There was a woman walking out of the store ahead of me who was in serious violation of the fashion code. She was wearing demin clam-diggers, which in 30 degree January-in-Minnesota weather was odd enough. Then I noticed her footwear - brown fleece house slippers. You know, the slip-on flat no-back ones? And covering her legs between the short pants and the slippers were knee-high stockings. How could I tell? Because the one on her right leg had rolled itself down to her mid-calf.

Really.

I've never been one to bug others about their fashion choices, but is this seriously a statement someone should make? Sunday afternoon at Target notwithstanding?

I think not.


Things are looking up

Interesting little week we've had so far.

Over the weekend I decided to sign up for a local craft boutique in February, try to sell some mini albums, maybe give this Scrap-For-Hire thing a shot. Not sure what I've gotten myself into ... I barely have enough time to brush my teeth or energy to scrap for myself during the day. But maybe if I was getting paid for it ... ?

Then on Tuesday Marc and I were talking and realized that come March we'll no longer be buying formula for Miss Harper (saving about $50/mo.), our gym membership will go down by $20/mo. because of new insurance, and we'll no longer have student loan payments. We're gonna be netting an extra $300 a month!

Then yesterday our insurance agent called (yes, a real person! Who knows our names!!) to inform us that due to new rate structures and criteria we now qualify for a different insurance package which would actually INCREASE our coverage yet DECREASE our premiums by $900/year! That's like one quarter for free!! Sign me up, baby!!

Suddenly the financial outlook for 2006 is rosier indeed. And maybe I can convince Marc to part with a little of our post-March windfall, let me hire a nice little lady to come vacuum and dust my house once or twice a month, giving me some free time to work on MY little project.

Just maybe ... ?


Random thoughts from 1.11.06:

1. I need to take my cat in for a Brazilian. Way too many masses of hair clumps in frictious places. Damn long-haired cat.

2. "Sowing the Seeds of Love" (Tears for Fears ... anyone?) is the longest song in the world. In-a-Gadda-da-Vida notwithstanding.

3. We have a lot of freaking mp3s. And yet I yearn for the day I go on an iTunes shopping spree.

4. I have a big-ass secret and it's about to make me burst.

5. I have a LOT of work to do this month.

6. Our kitchen is never clean. Will never be clean. Where do all these dishes come from?

7. Same as #6, just replace "kitchen" and "dishes" with "laundry."

8. Henry's taekwondo instructor is a little hottie. And I say "little" because he's like ten years younger than me. I feel so old.

9. The white hair on the top of my head resists color, so I found out tonight after sitting in a chair with goop on my head for half and hour. Brenda says we'll have to try permanent color. Sigh. I *AM* old.

10. My dad sends funny letters. Like, sarcastic funny. Guess I know where I get it.

11. My ears are too small for earbuds. ?! The ONE thing on my body that's too small, and it's my ear holes. Come ON!!

12. We are completely incapable of getting to bed before midnight. That's pathetic.

13. I now have a truly first-rate playlist on the shuffle (must name her! Taking suggestions now.) for the gym tomorrow. A little Modest Mouse, a little Green Day, a little Eminem, a little Live and Nirvana. Good, angry, hard, loud songs that will help me run the elliptical on level 7 instead of 5. That's what I'm hoping.

Signing off, since it's no longer 1.11.06. Night, all.


my personal non-holiday

Jan1006

So, today I turn 32. Not that that's a big thing, it's just that I'm now really, really in my 30s. It's a little strange. I was so excited to turn 30 - I felt valid and grown up for the first time ever. But now I'm 32 and I look around and wonder what I've done with my life. People have fame and recognized talents and positions of influence in their 20s these days. Seems like when I was in my 20s people just wanted to pat me on the head and tell me someday I'll understand.

WTF?!

I have talents, man. Or so I've been told. By people who are in a position to know. So why do I feel like a has-been/never-was at 32?

Then again, I had a very interesting day yesterday. I got kudos for an article I "edited" (ie mostly rewrote), someone emailed me about a layout I'd posted and to ask my permission to lift it. And it looks like something potentially awesome is now in the works and I should know within the next couple of months whether it's gonna fly.

Maybe I'm not completely down and out.

I think I'll look at my birthday as a blessing - another year to get something amazing done with my life, something that makes me say, "I really AM still here!"

And look ... Marc gave me this snazzy iPod shuffle so I can jog my butt off at the gym while listening to Eminem and Lemon Jelly ... must visit iTunes for good workout music. Any suggestions? Thinking along the lines of 90s dance club stuff. That would remind me of all the weekends I spent at the lake dancing my ass off with Erin at Tippy Dance Hall. When I was skinny. (Ha ha)

Plans for the day? Well, the kitchen was clean until I cooked dinner last night, so I'll probably take care of that. A massive pile of laundry appeared from nowhere on my laundry room floor, so I guess I'll sort that and start washing. Once I get the big kid off to school and the little kid down for a nap I may read a book. Dinner tonight is leftovers from last night - it was good so why cook another mess? - and then an outing to Coldstone for dessert. Good enough, I guess.


Sometimes something good happens

See this photo?
Tweakedharpsleepingsmall
I took this. And I'm proud. No, wait ... I'm damn proud.

This is my girl, fast asleep at 5:30 p.m. It was dark outside, it was dark in her room. The only light was from the hallway and I was essentially blocking it. The shot is through her crib bars. I used a 50mm lens. I tweaked curves a smidge to put more light on her, but other than that the shot is as it was from the camera.

How on earth did I capture something that looks so vintage? So old and fantastic? Like something from the 40s that's been technicolored? Like some Victorian print that's been color tinted? How on earth does my little girl just glow?

Maybe it's just love. Maybe God really does show Himself as light and warmth and love. 'Cuz that's my girl. She's my light and my warmth and my love.

Especially when she naps.


Wanted: Temporary Seasonal Zoloft Hit

You know how some people get that seasonal disorder thing? Where months of dreary will literally make them depressed and loony? Well, I get that after Christmas. Seriously, I think I do. The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is so wonderful ... all the decorating and planning and preparing and anticipating. And then Christmas itself .... bliss!! The joy and newness and excitement and togetherness and peace! And then that little week between Christmas and New Years, when really nothing is going on but it's still technically the holiday season.

But then January second rolls around and ... nothin'. And nothing to look forward to until, what ... Valentine's Day? I don't think so. Easter? Maybe. It's a long weekend (if your employer considers Good Friday a holiday). Memorial Day? Good golly ... is there really NOTHING in the five month interim between New Years and Memorial Day?!

No wonder it's bleak.

And the big kid is so jacked from the holiday and the sugar and the new loot and the constant attention of whatever relatives have come to call that by the time school is back in session he's officially buggy with adrenaline and expectations and overstimulation.

And we're all so ready to be back in a routine and sad to be done with holidays that it's just a constant slow-leak scrapescrapescrape on each other's nerves.

And then someone blows. Usually me. Or Henry. Or me because of Henry. Or Henry because of me. We just do that to each other. Capricorn vs Aquarius = never a good thing.

Thank God we have a Marc in our lives. He's such a calming force, a voice of reason, a well of neverending patience. I would have jumped off a cliff years ago if not for Marc. Probably would have after Henry was born if not for Marc + tiny blue antidepressant. He's truly my gift from Heaven Above.

Tonight we sat at the table and listened to Henry cry uncontrollably and practically make himself hyperventilate because ... drumroll ... he wouldn't eat five thank you bites of baked beans. Yes, folks, we are officially the worst parents in the world, expecting our son to eat a sugar-soaked legume. GOSH. More than half an hour of this debacle, me getting increasingly testy and snippy, Henry getting increasingly distraught, Marc steadily remaining calm in dealing with the situation. He finally had to tell me to leave, which I did happily. In the end, Henry got a smack on the butt and a play date tomorrow cancelled ... though the little stinker never did eat those friggin' beans.

It's just the holiday blues. For us all. Except Marc. He gets to go back into the real world with real adults and go have real lunches ... by himself (I can't even imagine the bliss of being BY MYSELF!!) or with adults he enjoys (occasionally calling a friend! to meet!! for lunch!!!). No blues there.

Ho hum. Bitch-and-moan. I know. Sorry. It's a January thing.


Pub Challenge #1 for '06:

A list of questions Nadinebean challenged us Pubsters to blog regarding the New Year and Old:

1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before? I had a weekend away with my three best girlfriends from high school. Just the girls for one whole weekend - heaven!! And Marc and I finally had a 24-hour period WITHOUT kids ... our first overnight away since 1999. Yikes.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Failed to keep resolutions from last year, but am committed to keeping them this year.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
SO many. I had Harper in March, and one of my dearest friends from high school had her first baby on the same day. My SIL had her first baby nine days later. My other SIL had her second child in July. Another of my high school girlfriends had her first baby in August, as did a dear friend here in Minnesota who had her second child.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not this year.
5. What countries did you visit?
Is Indiana a country? Cuz that's the only place I visited all year. Oh, except for about two hours in Illinois.
6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
Patience, time, creativity, a smaller body.
7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 15, only because that was the day my girl was born.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Other than Harper ... I'd have to say getting a layout published in CK, having five layouts bought by manufacturers, and something that's still in the non-disclosure state.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not submitting more or having time to create things for opportunities I really wanted to try.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
 I was sick pretty much my entire pregnancy. 
11. What was the best thing you bought?
The best thing bought FOR me ... my camera, hands down. Canon 20D. Totally rocks. Speaking of rocks, I got some pretty fabulous earrings for Mother's Day ... those weren't too shabby either.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Henry really took to taekwondo and has done a wonderful job of staying committed and being excited about progressing toward a black belt.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
President Bush and other leaders who did such a fine job of disappointing us all.
14. Where did most of your money go?
New furniture for the new house. But happily it's all paid off.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Probably photography, thanks to the camera. Instant gratification goes a long way toward maximum usage!
16. What song will always remind you of 2005?
"The Littlest Birds" by The Be Good Tanyas. I heard it for the first time right after Harper was born, and we were calling her Little Bird because of how she ate and how much she loves the birds on her mobile. So that song sort of became her song, thus my song for '05.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
happier, for sure.
ii. thinner or fatter?
thinner. though last year I was seven months pregnant.
iii. richer or poorer?
depends on how you look at it. marc makes more, but we no longer have savings because we've paid everything off.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
playing and spending time as Happy Mommy.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
being Grumpy Mommy.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
How did I spend '05 Xmas or how WILL I spend '06 Xmas? Spent '05 home with my hubby and kids. Have no idea about this Xmas.
22. Did you fall in love in 2005?
Absolutely! The minute I saw Harper!!
23. How many one-night stands?
Ummm ... none.
24. What was your favorite TV program?
The Office. Or Lost. Or Earl. Or How I Met Your Mother.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't think I hate anyone. I'm much more SICK of Paris Hilton this year than last ... is that a valid answer?
26. What was the best book you read?
Wow ... loved "Stiff." Loved "The Book of Joe." Loved "The Life of Pi." "Goodnight Nobody" was pretty good.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Iron & Wine. The Shins. The Be Good Tanyas. Deathcab for Cutie.
28. What did you want and get?
The 20D. And Harper.
30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Garden State. No question.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 31. It was a non-event. Scratch that ... now I remember what I did last year. My dad and grandma and stepmom were visiting. It was the first birthday I spent with my dad since I was, oh, four!
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
The world being a happier, safer, more accepting place.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
Are flannel jammie pants and long sleeved t-shirts a fashion concept?
34. What kept you sane?
Marc.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Mmm ... Joaquin Phoenix! And Ben Affleck's body.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Supreme Court nominations. The deterioration of New Orleans after Katrina.
37. Who did you miss?
I miss my girlfriends. Having a weekend with them reminded me how much I love them and how much I miss not being near them.
38. Who was the best new person (people) you met?
My Minnesota/2Peas crop buddies! And a wonderful new neighbor who just happens to be the mom of one of Henry's new school friends.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005:
Suck it up and get it in gear.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
The times, they are a changin'. (Not actually an '05 song, but that wasn't a stipulation, right?)


Another year done. Another year begins.

Newyearseve2006. Wasn't it just Y2K? Seriously ... I remember that one, but all the New Years since then have been a blur. Guess having kids will do that.

2005 recap: Marc once again lost his job when his company got sold out from under him, but we discovered he can contract full-time quite nicely. Harper LIllian entered our lives after years of trying and wishing for another baby. Henry started kindergarten. I had a few good scrapping moments, but mostly I became more involved in the photography side ... a skill that brings me endless joy. I have some irons in the fire for '06, Marc is starting full-time at GMAC in two weeks, and the kids are brilliant and adorable. What a great end to the year!

I don't know what '06 will hold for us - with any luck, nothing but status quo and uneventfulness!! - but I have a few resolutions/intentions/goals for the year that I'll strive to keep in mind each of the 365 days to come:

1. STREAMLINE!! That's my motto for the year. I'm going to apply it to every aspect of my life.

2. Health. To visit the gym at least four times a week. To lose the next 42 pounds.

3. Organization. Sort of goes along with being streamlined, but this is the year I get it together. I no longer have any excuses.

4. Follow-through. I always intend to do things - write, call, submit, clean, mail. This year I will do it. And sidebar: this year I mail cards ON TIME for every holiday, birthday, anniversary. Really.

5. Simplify. Simpler days. Simpler meals. Simpler storage. Simpler lifestyle. Simpler relationships. Simplicity all over the place.

6. Scrap. But for me. If I submit, fine. But this year I don't stress about not getting stuff done for a call or a deadline. This year I do what I want and do it for me.

7. Play. I've forgotten how to play in the past 10 years. It's time to remember; my children will benefit from it. And I will too.

That's it. I plan to print this list and put it somewhere so I see it daily. Little reminders are so necessary to success. And this year I WILL succeed.

Happy New Year!!